Retheming nickelodeon areas at Cedar Fair parks

Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:15 AM

What's always intrigued me about this site is that there seems to be a very midwestern perspective over all. When I went to KI, I was pretty underwhelmed by the Nick Universe area (and not ALL because it's not meant for me.) I mean its just flat rides with Spongebob and Company on them. This will be the same but with Peanuts. After reading about these golden ticket awards, what does it really mean? It has rides that you can find any place else. The 3D movie is a standard off the rack film that any park could install. The only thing really at a loss to me is the dark ride, which wasn't even Nick themed.

Perhaps my slant is different living in California, but its not themed the way a Californian expects something to be themed....in comparison with Disney. Fantasyland is much more immersive than Nick ever was at KI.

And I can agree with a lot of your posts, as my nephews and nieces reacted more to Spongebob and Dora than Snoopy initially, from TV, etc. And while nothing ever will compare to Disney, I think something that is being overlooked is at Knott's I see families all the time wearing matching Charlie Brown shirts or buying Snoopy. Sometimes they have trouble keeping the stuff in stock.

So, while perhaps not being too excited in the beginning of the day, after seeing a Snoopy ice show and going to the meet in greet, kids are more likely to want a keepsake of their day, and that Snoopy plush might be more interested than at the start of the day.

Everyone is also overlooking the impact on marketing with this 60th Anniversary next year....sure its a one time thing, but Peanuts will be everywhere next year.

It also comes down to business in the sense that of course Cedar Fair can not standardize merchandise and buy in bulk across the chain.

Also, to add to the argument about parks who don't have characters, doesn't Michigan's Adventure and Valleyfair! have unthemed kids areas. Geauga Lake did as well.

And please buy up your discounted Nick items before it all gets transferred to Knott's and sold at full price. That's what they did with the Winterfest stuff, and they even left the Paramount Parks tags on them! There's a while section of Nick stuff as it is already!

Last edited by Jazma, Saturday, August 29, 2009 7:08 AM
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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:24 AM
OhioStater's avatar

Perhaps my slant is different living in California, but its not themed the way a Californian expects something to be themed....in comparison with Disney.

Precisely. Disney is a whole other ball-game...the rides take you on a story, and the theming is infinitely more complex and imbedded into the ride experience itself. The rides themselves at Disney are, for the most part, a complete snooze-fest if you took away all of the theming and left just the ride.

At KI, it's just a ride with a character splattered on it, and nothing more.

I would not argue at all over the issue of popularity...of course they are popular and it excites the kiddies to see their TV come to life at the park, but it won't matter if it's not there, either.

Clearly the parks see some kind of benefit to having the licenses in their parks.

Of course...it helps sell stuff. But I still hold that a kid, no matter where they are...a demolition derby, Disneyland, KI, a zoo...they always want something from that place, whether Dora is on it or a picture of a panda.

The bottom line is, it will still be, hands down, one of the best kiddie areas out there.

The kids will have a blast...they will be immersed in Peanuts all around them....befire you know it, fun = Peanuts, Peanuts = fun...and they want the t-shirt, the mug, the dog, the cup, the hat...etc...

Of course there will be some kids next year who remember the Nick craziness and will initially miss it, but that will fade.

Last edited by OhioStater, Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:25 AM
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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:32 AM

All right let us look at it from this angle,

If Cedar Fair decided to remove the peanut gang from Cedar Point and replace them with the Nick Toons. What would happen?

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 9:45 AM
OhioStater's avatar

Nothing. Kids line up to ride Woodstock Express and Jr. Gemini (which somehow children still like even without a character on it).

I think the argument being proposed is that there is going to be some type of organized juvenile protest against KI for removing Nick from the park.

The children who still choose to have fun with Charlie Brown will be labeled 'scabs' if they cross the picket lines, and CF will crumble due to the boycott of all merchandise.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 10:18 AM
Fun's avatar

For what it's worth, having dressed up as Snoopy before, my insight on the situation is this:

Snoopy, like many other effective costumed characters, has the ability to attract and entrance children, even if they have never seen him before. Kids who have no idea who he is still run up to hug him or give a high five. Combine this "happy moment" with the parents own emotional attachment to a character they have grown up with as well, and you have the correct recipe for selling obscene amounts of merchandise.

An important question that hasn't been asked yet is whether parents are more willing to buy merchandise (for their children) of a character they know and understand.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 10:34 AM
Jeff's avatar

The question has been asked, but more in the context of, will they buy as much, and given higher margins, would lower volume yield the same profit.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:00 AM
kpjb's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:


Gotta go back to the old "parks compete against other forms of entertainment" defense. It's not a matter of another local park having Nick characters, it's a matter of something else that wasn't as fun as a day in the Nickelodeon universe now being more fun and relevant to a kid than a day in the Peanuts universe.

These are exactly the people they will lose. People here, because it is a coaster board, vastly underestimate how much the gp cares about coasters.

Will the people who go to the parks anyhow have a better time with Nick characters? Maybe. Will they sell more stuff and have happier kids if they're going anyhow? Maybe. That's the intangible stuff.

The people they're going to lose are the people who view an amusement park as just another entertainment option. Kids don't necessarily give a crap about rides, and may have just as much fun at a baseball game, children's museum, movie, zoo, etc.


Carrie M. said:
Howdoes Kennywood compete? How does Idlewild compete? How does HolidayWorld compete? How does Hershey compete? How does Knoebels compete?


Of those parks that all do fine in terms of family draw...

...and this is where Cedar Fair's logic loses me. We keep hearing that Cedar Fair doesn't see the value in this Nick license. Well what is the value of Peanuts? Is it a draw? Do they do boatloads of merch sales? What, then, is the value of the Peanuts (or any) license?

If it was me, I'd rather just drop the licensing altogether. Why does the kiddie area need themeing beyond being just a kiddie area? Does it make any difference? Kids love Kenny Kangaroo and he has no TV specials at all.

I'd totally understand if they went with in-house characters and dropped all the licensing. They obviously believe that the licensing is worthwhile, though, because they make a point to plaster Chuck and Snoopy at all their parks. So then I ask... what is the difference between having a Nick license and having aPeanuts license? Then, what is the difference between having aPeanuts license and none at all? I think the difference between Nickand Peanuts is probably more significant than the difference betweenhaving Peanuts and nothing.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:05 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

Jazma said:
What's always intrigued me about this site is that there seems to be a very midwestern perspective over all.

It's not that the overall perspective of the "site" is midwestern, it's that KI is a midwestern park and therefore that's the market most impacted by this change at KI. It makes sense the discussions would stem around that perspective as that's the context of what we are talking about.

Last edited by Carrie M., Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:07 AM

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:07 AM
OhioStater's avatar

Well what is the value of Peanuts?

Same effect, cheaper deal.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:14 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

But no one has still answered the question of why the parks waste money buying these licenses if it truly doesn't matter. Everyone just keeps saying it doesn't matter and nothing will change.

I'm not predicting a mass exodus - quite the opposite. But I can't look past the fact that parks do pay a decent sum of money to put these characters in the parks. If it doesn't matter why pay in the first place? No one has answered that.

Carrie M. said:
Kids attend other parks that do not have the Nick license. Would their experience be enhanced if those parks had the Nick license? Absolutely. My park experience would be enhanced if they offered free massages in an adult lounge at the park. They don't. So what?

So what if you went because of the free massages in the adult lounge. It was one of the reasons you visited the park and they quit giving them, but kept the adult lounge. You might decide go somewhere else or still visit not have quite as good a time while you're there. The point is the experience has been impacted negatively.

You keep making it sound like anybody can slap a few rides in an empty lot somewhere and people will show up. Characters don't matter, beer gardens don't matter, hypothetical free massages don't matter...well, then what does matter? It has to be more than the rides.

I haven't been to a simple community fair in almost a decade, but I've spent more time and money traveling to more amusement parks than is really within the realm of sanity. There must be something there besides the rides that matters.

Why would any park do anything beyond the bare minimun - especially when it comes to paying to put some random cartoon face on the side of a ride vehicle.


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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:17 AM

I agree with you kpjb on your last paragraph. In my house it comes down to a feeling of happiness. Let me explain. My kids have grown up with Nickelodeon. My family knows Jimmy Neutron. We love Cosmo and Wanda (I might be a crazy dad but I will stand in line at KI to get my picture taken with Cosmo:)). And how can we forget about SpongeBob?

Going to KI we will be happy regardless of whose face is on the rides or which characters are roaming the blacktop. We will not stop going because those faces are gone/changed. But what is different is the amount of happiness we have, and for my family that translates into merchandise sales. I admit spending money on Nick stuff for the kids (and me and my wife) simply because not only did we have fun at KI but we had a higher level of fun because we were riding the Fairly Odd Coaster in the Cosmo train or because we still find the Avatar to be awesome. We got caught up in the emotion that as stupid as it sounds, the Nick atmosphere promoted.

Replace Nick with Peanuts, and we still have fun, but I am not buying merchandise because we have no connection with the Peanuts stuff. It doesn't take to me to the higher level. For my family might as well get rid of the Peanuts as well.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:18 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar


But no one has still answered the question of why the parks waste money buying these licenses if it truly doesn't matter. Everyone just keeps saying it doesn't matter and nothing will change.

I'm not predicting a mass exodus - quite the opposite. But I can't look past the fact that parks do pay a decent sum of money to put these characters in the parks. If it doesn't matter why pay in the first place? No one has answered that.

Carrie M. said:


Kids attend other parks that do not have the Nick license. Would their experience be enhanced if those parks had the Nick license? Absolutely. My park experience would be enhanced if they offered free massages in an adult lounge at the park. They don't. So what?

So what if you went because of the free massages in the adult lounge. It was one of the reasons you visited the park and they quit giving them, but kept the adult lounge. You might decide go somewhere else or still visit not have quite as good a time while you're there. The point is the experience has been impacted negatively.

You keep making it sound like anybody can slap a few rides in an empty lot somewhere and people will show up. Characters don't matter, beer gardens don't matter, hypothetical free massages don't matter...well, then what does matter? It has to be more than the rides.

I haven't been to a simple community fair in almost a decade, but I've spent more time and money traveling to more amusement parks than is really within the realm of sanity. There must be something there besides the rides that matters.

Why would any park do anything beyond the bare minimun - especially when it comes to paying to put some random cartoon face on the side of a ride vehicle.

kpjb said:
The people they're going to lose are the people who view an amusement park as just another entertainment option. Kids don't necessarily give a crap about rides, and may have just as much fun at a baseball game, children's museum, movie, zoo, etc.

Exactly!

They obviously believe that the licensing is worthwhile, though, because they make a point to plaster Chuck and Snoopy at all their parks. So then I ask... what is the difference between having a Nick license and having a Peanuts license? Then, what is the difference between having a Peanuts license and none at all? I think the difference between Nick and Peanuts is probably more significant than the difference between having Peanuts and nothing.

Again, you're dead on. There has to be degrees of benefit. If it didn't matter than no park would be paying for any licensing.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:20 AM
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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:19 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

I've said before I think a park moves from an in-house character theme to a license to provide a competitive edge. The parks I mention go with lesser known themes. Cedar Fair decides they could do "better" with a more recognized commercial name, so they go with Peanuts. Paramount decides they can do "better" with an even more recognized name so they go with Nick. All competing in the same market for the same customers. That makes sense to me.

Cedar Fair takes over Paramount, though, and then discovers just how much of a cost that Nick license is. I presume they decide the cost outweighs the benefit. And now given the competitive edge is lost because they own all of the parks in the market with the Nick license, it makes sense to ditch it.

If any of the other parks in the same market pick up the Nick license, then they have a problem. Until then, I'm not buying it. It may impact some customer behavior, but I don't believe it will be at a level that will even be noticed.


"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:38 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Carrie M. said:
If any of the other parks in the same market pick up the Nick license, then they have a problem. Until then, I'm not buying it. It may impact some customer behavior, but I don't believe it will be at a level that will even be noticed.

So you're saying the Nick license matters. It has the potential to sway crowds on a park-vs-park basis.

I simply think that extends beyond amusement parks to other competing forms of entertainment.


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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:43 AM
Jeff's avatar

Carrie M. said:

Jazma said:
What's always intrigued me about this site is that there seems to be a very midwestern perspective over all.

It's not that the overall perspective of the "site" is midwestern, it's that KI is a midwestern park and therefore that's the market most impacted by this change at KI.

Not to mention that, as a matter of fact, California (especially LA) is not the center of the universe, no matter how much people there think it is.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:48 AM
OhioStater's avatar

I'm saying the Nick license matters, yes...what I'm also saying is that I think there is just as much value with the Peanuts' license, but I am guessing that the cost of aquiring said license is cheaper than Nick's.

Time will tell, of course, but if there is a negative effect, I would expect it to be very small, and very brief.

Last edited by OhioStater, Saturday, August 29, 2009 12:00 PM
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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:48 AM
Carrie M.'s avatar

I suppose it does, Gonch. If Nick exists at other entertainment venues, folks may go there instead. But my main point is, it won't matter to KI. I really don't think it will. I think you've been suggesting the loss of good will or negative feeling will impact KI in some way. I still don't think it will.

I remember when Kennywood decided to stop offering general admission pricing a few years ago. I really thought it was going to be a detriment to the park. I even asked them why they would do such a thing. They explained the cost of offering general admission with the tickets and such made it a savings to them to go with POP.

Still, everyone in my circle swore people were going to get mad and not go to the park as much because the really young and the old would have to pay for the right to ride the rides they do not ride. You know, good will would be lost and such.

Did some people go to the park less? Yep. Did it matter to Kennywood in the long run? Nope. I think the same applies here.

Last edited by Carrie M., Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:49 AM

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 11:50 AM

I'm still not convinced this was CF's choice. As I said somewhere earlier the fact that they seem unprepared for this transition in the midst of spending money on thrill rides makes me think they were taken by surprise.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 12:19 PM
Jeff's avatar

It was their choice. Trust me. This is no surprise, and they're plenty prepared.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Saturday, August 29, 2009 12:35 PM

Carrie: Overall, the posts tend to focus on midwestern parks. There always seems to be more interest, longer threads when the park is in the mid west. Just an observation in the years I've been on the site.

Jeff: I never said anything about California being the center of the universe. Don't get me wrong, out of all the places I've been, I love Ohio the best.

The comparison I am making is that living down the street from both Disneyland and Knott's, nothing Cedar Fair could ever do would ever escape the comparison that it can never be as good as Disney could do it. I am just surprised that people feel the Nick area at KI was so incredibly themed. The comparison for people in California would be Disney, having grown up with it, therefore any other kids area would pale in comparison.

Nick U was just a collection of flat rides mildly themed to Nick characters. Camp Snoopy is the same. The rides will be the same. What we are all arguing is the emotional connection or attachment to "the characters."

I can recall when Camp Snoopy was built at Knott's in 1983. Prior to that, they had a few kiddie rides with no theme scattered around the park. The mascots were the Bear-y family. Attendance and sales went up with Snoopy and the Peanuts, but again this was another time...one could argue Peanuts were much more current then than now.

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